Survey to analyse impacts of rising costs and funding challenges for early years sector 

National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) is running a survey throughout January 2024 to analyse the cost and staffing pressures that nurseries from England, Scotland and Wales are under. 

All three countries are in the process of preparing for or undergoing an expansion to their two-year-old childcare entitlement. Following years of soaring costs and significant increases to minimum wages, NDNA is surveying providers on the state of the sector. This will inform what nurseries now need to be able to continue offering high-quality early education and care. 

In England, the Chancellor announced last March that all two-year-olds of working parents would be entitled to 15 hours of funded childcare from April 2024. This extends from September 2024 to all children in the term after they turn nine months old. However, many providers are still in the dark about the hourly rates they will receive under this policy. 

In Wales, the Flying Start expansion is continuing, with more areas coming on board to offer funded places to all two-year-olds. The funding rate for most childcare places has not been increased since 2022 when inflation started rising significantly. 

Pilots are taking place in Scotland to widen the two-year-old offer, but there are currently no dates in place for when this will be rolled out across the country. 

The survey should only take a few minutes to fill in and is open for early education and care settings in all three nations. 

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), said: “As Governments across the UK look at making expanded offers to parents of young children, we want to be able to show the reality on the ground for early years providers.  

“Providers’ main aims are to support our children’s development and give them the high-quality early education and care they need and deserve. However, they need to be financially sustainable to be able to do this. 

“When governments are the main customer for childcare places the funding rates are crucial. If they are not paying a fair price, then everyone loses out.  

“As well as the financial burden, we know early years providers are also facing a workforce crisis as many more qualified staff continue to leave the sector for more flexible, better-paid jobs in retail and hospitality.  

“With our research we will be lobbying all three governments with the most up-to-date data to demonstrate what still needs to be done in order to support our crucial early years sector.  

“The responses we receive will shape our manifesto ahead of the General Election this year. We will use this manifesto to influence the development of policies by all political parties.” 

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